As I write this, I'm sat in my apartment in Málaga after my first week of intensive Spanish lessons at the Universidad de Málaga. The week has been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, and I'm so grateful for Stephen Thatcher at our Santander University Branch for allowing me this experience.
In March 2017, I was lucky enough to be granted a Santander Iberamerican Scholarship by Plymouth University, a scholarship which essentially allows students to undergo a period of study at a selection of universities around the world. Your only limitation is that you have to make sure the project takes place at a fellow Santander University, of which there are hundreds!
The Santander University partnership extends globally, so the world was quite literally my oyster. Having been to Palma de Mallorca around 7 times last year, I knew that learning Spanish and living in Spain was a huge passion of mine. However, I wanted to branch away from the small island and explore somewhere new. That's why I decided to research which Spanish universities hosted Spanish classes, and something about Málaga stood out for me - it was right by the sea, and had a great program that I could undergo for a tailored period of time. I wrote in total around a 4,000 word application, essentially begging for the amazing opportunity, and lo and behold, two months later I got my answer – I would be going to Spain!
Packing and preparing for it would be a little stressful. In the space of a month, I had to finish all of my assignments for second year, pack up my uni room, move my stuff back home and pack for 3 months in Spain. Lugging it through the airport was a mission, but some higher force was definitely looking down upon me as I hit 20kg exactly.
A week on, and I've undergone 25 hours of intensive Spanish learning. I'm in a completely different position now from a week ago; I can already read and understand Spanish phrases, something I couldn't do before! The teachers are all enthusiastic, encouraging and challenging. Not to mention, I've met and made friends from all over the world; namely from Lithuania, England, America, Canada, and even China, Korea, and Brazil! Together, we've already discovered Málaga and some of its surroundings. Fun fact, the cheapest beer here is only 40 cents!
Not only has this scholarship allowed me the opportunity to learn Spanish, but I'm already learning loads of things about myself that I didn't know before. For example, I now know that I'm capable of living and learning in a new country all by myself. If you're a student looking for a brand new opportunity, definitely look into Santander Scholarships – you won't regret it!